Sunday, October 26, 2008

Urban News Vol. 33

Today I'd like to recap a lot of the news surrounding the relocation of businesses and firms to downtown Rochester. One might try to find a logical fallacy in my assertion that this is energy related as the price of gasoline continues to fall precipitously. However it is the end of the cheap oil age in the first place that is the unsung driver of the collaspe of the larger economy. The reason for this is that prohibitive commuting costs reduced the value of homes in exurban subdivisions. A loss of equity in homes where mortgagees were either overextended or underqualified in the first place triggered the first wave of foreclosure, sending the Debt Backed Securities (DBS) market into a scramble to identify the scope of unrepayable debt. Since ours is an economy of subsidizing and building suburban sprawl, the sudden halt reverberates through the rest of the economy.

Bailout precipitating factors aside, additional strain on the regular economy is inherent in the state of the trucking and airline industries which cannot continue to operate in an era of meaningfully priced energy sources. This invariably hurts the bottom line of the famous Main Street undermining big box stores and other national brands. Fuel prices are dropping now due to temporary demand destruction, though there is no reason it needs to be temporary. This country is long way from eliminating extraneous driving. Since moving 2 months ago, I may have driven a vehicle 5 times tops. Many of these trips were back to Webster to pick up more of our things.

My overarching reason for this rant is that there are three possible scenarios regarding the relationship of fuel/economic health and that regardless of the outcome, these Rochester business leaders are either ahead of or on the leading edge of the curve. A) We are about to enter an oscillating cycle of increased/decreased fuel demand with corresponding delayed economic mirroring in a desperate attempt to maintain the wasteful status quo. B) It is too late to reverse the effects of peak oil and the nation is heading toward a depression where fuel costs will largely be inconsequential. C) The decrease in energy consumption becomes permanent and some positive unintended consequences develop including a reduction in obesity, diabetes, air pollution, mass transit fares, need to import goods, the list goes on and on. I am dedicating everything I've done for the last 10 months to C. We'll see how the rest of this country responds.

by Virginia Butler, RNews

by Jim Stinson, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

by Jim Stinson, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

360 Software Moves to a New Location
by Kelly Sabetta, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

The Reshaping Rochester Lecture Series got underway Wednesday night at Gleason Works. I am trying to acquire some of the powerpoint presentation of Dr. Dick Jackson before I do my write-up so I don't miss any key points, but that is next on the blog agenda.

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